Friday, 9 November 2018

Blu-ray Review: Black Sails: The Complete Collection

Lionsgate; 35 hours 56 minutes; Not Rated; Amazon
There are way too many television series I have wanted to watch, but I never got around to watching them during their original runs. Black Sails happens to be one of these series.

Black Sails: The Complete Collection was recently released to Blu-ray from STARZ and Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

Created by by Jonathan E. Steinberg and Robert Levine, Black Sails aired on STARZ for four seasons. The series starred Toby Stephens, Hannah New, Luke Arnold, Jessica Parker Kennedy, Tom Hopper, Zach McGowan, Toby Schmitz, Clara Paget, Mark Ryan, Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Sean Cameron Michael, Louise Barnes, Rupert Penry-Jones, Luke Roberts, Ray Stevenson, David Wilmot, and Harriet Walter.

Black Sails is a prequel to the classic novel Treasure Island written by Robert Louis Stevenson. Set in 1715 (roughly twenty years before the novel), the series mostly focuses on Captain Flint (played by Toby Stephens), a former British officer turned pirate who finds himself on the New Providence island with an eager crew, but without an actual ship to sail.

New Providence is lead by Eleanor Guthrie (played by Hannah New), a young woman who has taken control of her father's operations across the island. She has taken ownership of the local brothel and wants to control of all the pirates; except for Captain Flint, who has a personal vendetta against the British Navy, and Captain Charles Vane (played by Zach McGowan), a brutal pirate who takes possession of the island, as well as Hannah's heart.

All three characters collide after "Long" John Silver (played by Luke Arnold), arrives on the island with several schemes up his sleeves, including stealing a "schedule" page from Captain Flint. With a lot of backstabbing, Captain Flint acquires a ship and gathers his crew (which includes Silver), so they can steal a treasure of gold.

Let's just say things don't go as planned!

Special Features include:
  • Season 1
    • "Black Sails": An Inside Look
    • Dressed to Kill
    • Pirate Camp
    • Folklore Is Finished
    • A Place in History
    • Building the Behemoth
  • Season 2
    • Inside the World of "Black Sails"
    • Man O'War
    • Expanding Worlds
    • High Sea Action
    • History's Influence
  • Season 3
    • Season Two Recap
    • Blackbeard: An 18-Century Pirate
    • The Storm
    • A Pirate's Last Words
    • Woodes Rogers
    • Inside the World of "Black Sails"
  • Season 4
    • Inside the World of "Black Sails"
    • Creating the World
    • Roundtable: Women in Piracy
    • Roundtable: The Legends of Treasure Island
    • Roundtable: Fearless Fans

Final Thoughts

If you're expecting Black Sails to be an action-packed thrill-ride, you're going to be slightly disappointed. After watching STARZ's Spartacus series, I was expecting Black Sails to be more or less the same with the quality of the action scenes, but I was wrong. The series is a drama with a little bit of pirate action tossed into the mix. For me, the first season was a slow burner. It took me three or four episodes to get myself emotionally invested with the characters, which was difficult to do as there isn't one innocent character in the entire bunch.

It's definitely a STARZ series, as it's full of sex and graphic nudity. One of the subplots involves the brothel, so you need to use your imagination, as I'm not going to go into details with it.

The acting for the entire cast is topnotch. However, Toby Stephens as Captain Flint and Jessica Parker Kennedy as Max were the two standouts for me.

Seasons One and Two involve Captain Flint and his crew on a quest to steal gold. The final two seasons is more about the war between the pirates and Britain, and the action is amped-up quite a bit compared to the first two seasons.

The Blu-ray set comes with 12 discs. The picture and sound quality are excellent. There are quite a few special features, but I believe these are same ones that were on the individual season sets.

Overall, I enjoyed watching Black Sails: The Complete Collection. While it isn't exactly perfect, there were plenty of twists and turns that kept me entertained. If you can get passed all the unneeded nudity, there's actually an intriguing story being told here. With Christmas just around the corner, Black Sails: The Complete Collection Blu-ray would a great gift for an adult pirate fan! 

*Note: I received a review copy from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.
All opinions are my own.

1 comment:

  1. Does anyone know why the actor Jannes Eiselen didn't return as Dufresne for seasons 2 & 3?


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